Works in the Bulletin 1909
A DIFFERENT MEANING
A word as applied to tactics has a different meaning from the same word if used in a personal sense. - Alfred
It is truly as lucid as lucid can be;
It is plain as the nose on your face
Though the tactics may be a disgrace, don't you see,
The tactician is not a disgrace.
He may wobble and swerve and crayfish and curve -
It is all of it part of the game -
But you mustn't say "Wobbler," for, prithee, observe
That the meaning is not quite the same.
One might carry this argument ever so far -
There is not the least good in denying
That though a man's talk may be lies you must baulk
At describing the talker as "lying."
His work may be slow, but it's nonsense, you know.
To declare that the man's a "slow worker."
And it he should shirk in the House all his work
'Twould be foolish to call him a "shirker."
In quoting such things one could fill up a ream;
It is so to the end of the chatter.
A man who adapts his adversary's scheme,
He need never be called an "adapter."
And if he should fuse, it is not the least use
To describe him as being a "Fuser."
Such a use of the word is distinctly absurd,
And would earn but contempt for the user.
For a statesman's a statesman right on to the end,
Never mind what his actions resemble;
He may bargain and palter and stumble and falter
And wheedle and scheme and dissemble.
But, observe, these are acts, and though probably facts
That would earn for the mere politician
A horrible name, it is not quite the same
When applied to a master tactician.
And so, you electors, when chewing the ended
Of reflection, attend to this study.
And observe, though a member may meddle with mud
He in not, of necessity, muddy.
Though he turns like a weathercock ten ways at once,
Till you never know which way he's leaning,
To call him a weathercock proves you a dunce,
For it has quite a different meaning.
The Bulletin, 14 October 1909, p20